Food storage while at the campsite

ValerieD

Member
Nov 14, 2021
47
Portland OR
What does everyone do with food like potato chips, cookies, top ramen and other packaged food? Is it safe to keep in the pup? We'll be in state campgrounds with the likelihood of bears minimal, but raccoons are a good possibility.
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,293
Southeastern PA
If you're camping in bear country, most campgrounds have bear-boxes for your food. And you better put ALL your nonperishable food it there and secure coolers. Don't forget, don't use any scented cleaning or body products. A wild animal will smell a bottle of lemon scented dish washing soap and rip apart your camper to get it.

I'm lucky that my truck (Honda Ridgeline) basically has a built-in bear-box in the form of a trunk in the bed on the truck. That's were I keep the cooler. And if the campsite does not have a bear-box, food should be kept in bear-resistant containers or hung properly. Keep windows and doors closed and locked at all times. Don't leave anything that a bear might associate with food in view, such as coolers or grocery bags, even if there is no food in them.

Now if you're in Big Foot country........... :eek:
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,871
Northern Virginia
When I'm bear country I keep all food In my SUV or in the provided bear box. When outside bear country I have a sweater organizer in front of each bunk. That I use as my "pantry". I have a telescoping bath rod bar in front of each bunk. The organizer hangs onto. My organizer can actually remain in place even if I close the camper so that's a huge plus in my book. Not the greatest picture but gives you an idea.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20180527_143943391_copy_1312x738_1.jpg
    IMG_20180527_143943391_copy_1312x738_1.jpg
    130.1 KB · Views: 189

Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
2,144
Ask the locals. Rangers, camp hosts, whatever. They know, and every place is different.

I keep that stuff in my popup and have not had a problem with raccoons. (If there was a sign about raccoons breaking into things, I'd pay attention though!)

I keep a clean campsite and generally don't camp in areas with problem bears. In places like Yellowstone or Tahoe, the bears kind of own things and the bear box is used. (I usually avoid super bearsy places when I can because it's less fun, but c'mon...Yellowstone.) Except for the heavy tourist areas, I think west coast bears are more cautious with humans than eastern ones.
 

rsdata

Active Member
Oct 3, 2011
333
N. KY
Raccoons can be a problem in some campgrounds. We have always did cooking outside of the camper to keep food odors outside of the camper. I use a product I find at HDepot called Mold Armor to keep mildew at bay on the canvas/vinyl tent. It has a strong bleach odor. When necessary for animal control I spray it around the base of the camper to give a foul scent to the animals that may get curious about getting inside and really have not had a problem. moldarmor.jpg
 
Last edited:

TSS

Member
Jan 17, 2022
61
NW Georgia
When I'm bear country I keep all food In my SUV or in the provided bear box. When outside bear country I have a sweater organizer in front of each bunk. That I use as my "pantry". I have a telescoping bath rod bar in front of each bunk. The organizer hangs onto. My organizer can actually remain in place even if I close the camper so that's a huge plus in my book. Not the greatest picture but gives you an idea.
Great idea! We use the black/yellow boxes from lowes inside the pup and suv.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NLB

silvermickey2002

Morris County, NJ
Sep 11, 2008
4,950
Morris County, NJ
When we are not in bear country we have our dry food (non-perishables) in bags (those food recycled food bags for shopping) we keep in the camper. cold stuff in the fridge or in a cooler.

While in bear country all food is kept in our SUV. We take it out while prepping a meal. Otherwise it is kept in the SUV.

While in National Parks with a much higher chance of bears coming thru the campground we keep all food and smellables in the SUV. We also will make sure to cover the food and cooler with coats or a blanket. Those dam bears are smart!!!!
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,871
Northern Virginia
In all the places I camp I’ve never had a problem with coons, but I also keep a clean site at all times. I never leave trash outside, I throw it away at the end of the day. i Never leave food outside unless in a sealed cooler (if allowed). i usually leave my outside stove out on the camper rail (if allowed) but I always clean it. Coons are usually looking for easy pickings and often like the campground trash cans or other peoples sites who leave trash out etc. had a camp neighbor keep food on their picnic table and trash laying beside their tent. Well let’s just say they had a ton of visitors at night and in the morning it Looked like a seen from The Birds with a million birds also wanting to “clean up”. So to say think they learned a lesson.
 

1380ken

Super Active Member
Nov 7, 2013
2,989
Mass
I have giant fat racoons that attack my trash barrels at home. I have never seen a racoon while camping in Northern New England.
 

ChrisS_NC

Member
May 30, 2015
26
We always kept them in sealed plastic food boxes (re tupperware) on the shelves above the sink. If we were in a place we had to worry about animals we used a 17 gallon barrel with a screw top, similar to a BearVault, or kept it in the car. A second cooler with a secured is also useful and more easy to organize. When I use to tent camp we used a dry bag in a tree and a portable bear fence.
 

Patrick w

Active Member
Aug 13, 2021
654
Most camp grounds on the east have a mildly reasonable locations for trash and poles to hang your trash and food.

I use Plano totes. They are pretty durable (not pelican, but way stronger than a residential grade bin)
I have limited space so everything is organized this way.
My camper is small and doesn't even have a stove Lol. So everything is outside.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,937
Albuquerque, NM
We treated camping in the popups the same as camping in ground tents. The majority of our food was in the same plastic totes we'd used, in the vehicle. (We upgraded totes from time to time.) We did eat in the popups some of the time, our cooking inside was pretty much limited to our most simple meals. No cooking bacon, nothing that was very messy, both popups were small so cleaning up had to be easy.
We did usually keep tea, hot chocolate inplastic boxes in side, and sometimes had breakfast supplies, a small amount of snacks, inside, when we were there. Otherwise, they went in the vehicle.
We do camp in bear country (not grizzly except on rare trips); in some places we have to put the camp stove, water jug, etc. away except when eating. Even when not in bear country, the campgrounds have chipmunks, squirrels, mice, ravens, etc. They have gotten used to people being careless, and food left out can be a prime target - and a cloth tent or popup isn't much protection. (Back in tent camping days, we had mice get into our car, they got into both of the Outbacks we had.)
 

ValerieD

Member
Nov 14, 2021
47
Portland OR
We're long time tent campers but at the start of the pandemic our local campgrounds were closed thru the summer. When they reopened we were one of the first groups to return. We were woken up several times to the sound of raccoons trying to get into our cooler. I'd forgotten to zip the bottom of our tent and they had reached in and pulled out my bag (basically my purse) and spread the contents all around. I didn't sleep much the rest of the night.
 

Attachments

  • 20200912_032141.jpg
    20200912_032141.jpg
    194.5 KB · Views: 46

JLE

Member
May 10, 2019
47
Calgary AB
What does everyone do with food like potato chips, cookies, top ramen and other packaged food? Is it safe to keep in the pup? We'll be in state campgrounds with the likelihood of bears minimal, but raccoons are a good possibility.
We keep all our 'dry goods' in a soft-sided cooler with a plastic (ie, firm) box liner and just move it between the popup and car (and house) as needed in bear country. Makes it so much easier than unpacking and repacking all summer and you always know where everything is to replenish.
 

SteveP

Super Active Member
May 21, 2015
2,648
We still keep most of our food and our cooler in the truck as we did in our tent camping days. We often take day trips from camp and like to have food and water available. For chips, bread and other such items we have a York Pack, from our river camping days. I googled it to see if it's still available and found that NRS offers their own branded version. It's splash proof, coon proof and coyote proof. Keeping it in the truck keeps the javelinas away from it If a bear box is provided it will slide in along with the cooler.
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,293
Southeastern PA
I got a couple of those Ammo Crate Utility Boxes from Cabela's (19" x 16" x 8") for not only canned goods but all my cooking utensils. Great for easily carrying everything to/from the camper. Big enough for a lot of stuff but not too big that they're too heavy to carry.

FYI, Always remember to rotate your canned goods. I bring in my crates after every camping trip so and canned goods aren't sitting in the closed-up camper, going bad from the heat of the summer. But I also may use those canned goods at home and so the camping crates get repacked before each trip. And everything gets dated with a Sharpie so it get used, oldest to newest.
 

Hilldweller

Super Active Member
Mar 2, 2021
1,060
Hog Waller, GA
I put everything in ammo cans too, Steve.
But I've got an Aliner and just keep everything clean outside. That, and the scent of my hound, and I haven't had a bear in any of our sites.
 

Strawhouse

Let’s Go Camping!
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 4, 2015
1,860
Muskoka, Ontario 🇨🇦
I‘ve never had problems with raccoons or bears—although I’ve encounter both on canoe and camping trips.
It’s the red squirrels that were the problem.

During my solo backpacking days, I was camping on one of my favourite trails in Algonquin Park ON and set up a base camp. From there I would take day hikes. As usual, I strung up my food pack between two trees. Yep, a red squirrel chewed into it. I‘d sew it up with waxed cord, but the squirrel chewed through again. on the 3rd day, a couple who was hiking out asked me if I’d like some leftover pitas. Perfect! I tucked the pitas into a hole chewed by the squirrel. It ate the pitas and left the rest of my food alone. Probably not the best solution—see Deet below—but problem solved!

I was on a canoe trip with a friend—also in Algonquin Park—and we camped on an island for a few nights. As you know, the animal population of an island will explode, so the island was overrun with squirrels. We hung our packs between 2 trees, but—of course—that‘s not a deterrent for squirrels. They chewed into our packs—even into sunscreen bottles. On squirrel even snatched a slice of potato from a plate as my friend was slicing them. We finally smeared heavy duty deet over the packs to solve the problem.
 




Top